We’re back with this week’s list of the most inspirational and/or important stories of the week. Here they are:
1) An Oregon couple who were forced to pay $135,000 after declining to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple had their first appearance before the Oregon Court of Appeals on Thursday, as they continue to push back against the massive judgement. The Sweet Cakes by Melissa case is one of the many First Amendment battles to capture nationwide attention of late, with activists on both sides of the aisle continuing to debate over which rights trump: religious freedom or equal protection under the law.
2) A new poll found that 71 percent of Americans worry the U.S. is “losing its national identity,” with just 3 in 10 believing that the United States’ identity is secure, according to a new report from AP-NORC. And the findings about Christian values are also pretty intriguing. Check it out.
3) Moving on, a Utah mom who is slightly over five months pregnant already knows her unborn child is the epitome of “cool.” Last Sunday, Makelle Ahlen went in for a routine hospital visit to check the health of her unborn baby and to her surprise the child showed off a rock on gesture just moments into her visit. You’ll want to check out this feel-good story.
4) Thousands of attendees at last week’s National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Orlando, Florida, were given a fascinating introduction to the Museum of the Bible, an innovative new museum opening this November in Washington, D.C. It’s a project that has been turning heads since the Green family — owners of the Hobby Lobby craft store chain — first announced they would be spearheading the massive effort to create a technologically advanced museum that guides visitors like never before through the Bible’s deep and fascinating history, while also exploring the book’s profound cultural impact.
Faithwire did a video walk-through with Hobby Lobby president Steve Green. Watch it here.
5) And in case you missed it,”Fences” star Viola Davis wowed the crowd with her emotional Oscar speech at the 89th Academy Award show. But it was what she said after she left the stage that will really inspire you. Here’s just a snippet: “I grew up in poverty. You know, I grew up in apartments that were condemned and rat infested and I just always sort of wanted to be somebody. And I just wanted to be good at something, so this is sort of the miracle of God, dreaming big, and just hoping that it sticks and lands — and it did. Who knew? So, yeah. I’m overwhelmed.” Watch her explain.
6) Radio host Hugh Hewitt said during a speech last week that he’s worked diligently over the years to “smuggle in the Christian gospel into a secular setting,” imploring his fellow broadcasters to ensure they deliver a “fragrance of the gospel” within their craft. He also had an important message about how Christians should be treating people in secular media.
7) A well-known UCLA law professor is out with a new Prager University video that explores an important and timely question: “Does an American citizen have a constitutional right to own a gun?” Watch what he had to say here.
8) On the medical front, the prestigious American Academy of Pediatrics is out with a new study imploring parents not to allow their kids to use marijuana, warning that consumption in the teen years could have a dire impact on brain development.
“Marijuana is not a benign drug, especially for teens,” Dr. Seth D. Ammerman, MD, co-author of report, said in a statement announcing the results. “Their brains are still developing, and marijuana can cause abnormal and unhealthy changes.”
9) Ready for another feel-good story? There are few things that hold true throughout different cultures across the globe, but one that does is the unpredictably adorable behavior of a toddler. Enter Imoh Umoren II, a Nigerian two-year-old defying the terrible twos with hugs. While participating in his first nursery school race, the toddler veered off course for the best reason ever: to give his dad a hug.
10) Last but not least, Derrick Taylor walks a total 10 miles a day to get to and from his Oxford, Alabama, job so he can support himself and his sick mother. Without the funds to purchase a car to make his transportation time shorter and no access to public transit, the young man is forced to pound the pavement. But when co-workers of Taylor noticed him walking to work every day they pooled their money together to buy him a used Jeep Cherokee. Just wow.
Other Must-Read Stories: